Gas Wiser, Gas Miser

By: Adam Kramer
By: Adam Kramer

For most people, going to the mechanic is like going to the dentist; you don't want to do it unless you absolutely have to, but if you can get over your fear of the mechanic, you'll find they can help you get rid of a lot of your pain at the pump.

Your car's operator's manual tells you you should change your oil every 3,000 miles and get a tune up every 30,000 miles, but going to the mechanic before that next tune up, can save you some cold hard cash the next time you do this!

Michael Palone has been working on cars for 11 years and has five simple tips for you to get you better mileage without breaking the bank.

“Eight to 20 dollars you can change an air filter. Gas wise, you'll save. It's going to help keep air flowing, combustion in the engine chamber happens properly and you'll actually save a few dollars in gas."

Palone says if you change your air filter every 12,000 miles you can increase your vehicle's gas mileage by as much as 10 percent. The average cost for an air filter is $15 bucks.

Second, check your engine’s spark plugs.

"If you're cooking with gas you want to make sure you're cooking properly, same thing with spark plugs. You want it to explode that gas properly, and if it doesn't explode properly and at a full potential you’re just wasting money."

Palone says you should make sure your spark plugs are always running at 100 percent and you should change them every couple of years. The average spark plug costs $8. Times six for a six cylinder engine, the cost for new spark plugs is $32.

Third, clean something called the engine's throttle body!

"On the throttle body you need to check it for cleanliness because when the air mixes with the fuel it’s going to leave a residue. You can check that you’re going to see dirt."

It costs around 50 bucks to get to clean the throttle body, but it should definitely up your MPG.

Fourth, check your battery.

"Regardless of whether you think you have a battery problem or not, once a year it's good to have a battery inspection and have the battery tested."

Palone says batteries are often overlooked when it comes to gas mileage, but are key to better mileage. He says to make you get your battery charged every winter to keep it running at its best. The best part is most places won’t charge you to charge your battery.

Finally, and most importantly, check your tire pressure.

"Tire pressure is the number one killer of gas mileage. If it's not properly inflated it can defiantly reduce the gas mileage significantly."

If your tires aren't fully inflated you’re just making you vehicle work that much harder to keep moving. Again, most places will check your tire pressure for free.

So the total cost for all five improvements is 107 bucks. Palone says 107 bucks can increase your gas mileage by as much as four and a half miles per gallon, paying for the improvements in just a few months, and here's the kicker: besides getting better gas mileage, if you follow these tips you'll also increase the life expectancy of your car.

Yet another cheap and inexpensive way to save a few extra bucks.


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